Fatima Leonor Gamboa – Care2 – Wednesday, 19 March 2014 (originally published Mar 12)
We all start our writing by mentioning the things that characterize us. I can say that I am a woman, although that shouldn’t matter since it is merely one of humanity’s sexes. Nevertheless, due to the situation of inequality and exclusion we women face, gender awareness really is important to transform the inequality with which we relate to men and other women.
In addition to being a woman, I am a descendant, heir and member of the indigenous Maya people, something that in a world in which we are all minorities, so diverse, so plural, should not be important either. However, given my personal situation and the urban context in which I grew up, it is something I need to mention. Firstly, because as a member of an indigenous population, I am aware of another way of conceiving my existence, my relationships – with energies, nature and my own indigenous sisters and brothers who, for more than 500 years, have been calling out to the rest of humanity, inviting it to join forces to make this world better, without discrimination, without injustice, for a more humane and inclusive world where no individual is worth more than any other, because we all have the same heart.
Secondly, since my family situation meant that I was born in an urban area and I grew up with a formal education that, far from strengthening my Maya identity from childhood, rendered it invisible, “westernized” me. It fenced me into the socio-cultural spaces where I could find myself and others like me, from which, now with greater awareness, in community work and indigenous education spaces, I have been recovering and strengthening. However, like many indigenous young people growing up in cities, we are victims of negative stereotypes that society has given us, such as “indigenous equals ignorant,” indigenous equals life without “progress” or social backwardness, etc . . .